The Rotalis picnic enjoying fine food outdoors

The Rotalis picnic is the highlight of the day for many of our guests. I also always enjoy preparing it.

Every picnic begins with making purchases. I place great value on local specialities. Excellently equipped supermarkets can be found in almost all our travel regions, but there is nowhere better to make purchases than at the local market. I especially enjoy browsing through the market stalls searching for fine foods for our guests.

My favourite market in Portugal is the weekly market in Estremoz. Here I can buy delicious olives and oranges, always from the same old lady who always informs me of the latest town gossip. Here I can also purchase my favourite type of cheese, the Queijo Rabaal, which is made of sheep’s and goat’s milk.

In Sardinia, I love the market hall of Iglesias. The atmosphere here is quite Mediterranean and the most fabulous Sardinian products are offered all around. I can never resist the Pecorino, directly from the herder or a home-made Mirto, the Sardinian myrtle liqueur.

I can highly recommend the farmer’s market in Hartberg. Here I can buy the juiciest apples, the freshest kernel oil and the best bacon. I then place this on a tasty piece of Austrian farmhouse bread, garnish it with fresh, Styrian horse-radish and pepper, creating a real treat.

In France, I always take the time to go to a boulangerie in the morning to purchase fresh bread, which smells delicious. In the Prigord, I always go to the same bakeries, where I like to order a tasty cake the day before, for our picnic.

After my purchases, I begin with the serving of the food, also making the picnic a feast for the eyes. We have always chosen lovely locations, at rivers, lakes, in clearings or directly at the sea. This makes serving the food in an appetising way an even more enjoyable experience. And to be honest, I do enjoy having a snack in the process. I cannot recommend anything which I have not tasted myself. When the guests arrive, it is a pleasure for me to introduce the many local specialities of the region to them. I feel mostly rewarded when the table is empty afterwards and the guests are content and relaxing in the grass. I then look forward to the following day and the next picnic.

Andrea Messner, travel guide

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